Friday, March 31st, 2023

How much good did they do…?

Billy GloverRegarding other publications in other causes. (A Note to Tracy Baim.)

September 13, 2012.

Dear Tracy:

I am going to ask others, but thought I’d bring up my question—to myself—about how publications affected individuals in other civil rights efforts.

When I went to LSU in 1950, I had already been to the first efforts of the YM/YWCA and Methodist church to start getting young Southerners ready for racial desegregation and perhaps racial integration—summer camps in North Carolina and Ohio—ironically Miami University of Ohio where Paul Ryan went.

So perhaps I was “ready” to find resources that fit my thoughts and interests. I found in the old LSU Library issues of the first black publication I had seen: Negro Digest. I read it and even did what it asked readers to do: write advertisers to thank them for placing their ads in this publication.

What I wonder is: Do young LGBT people seek and find LGBT material today, perhaps now online?

It is also interesting that when that publications ended. I think it was replaced by Ebony—both are Johnson Pub magazines. I didn’t find Ebony as interesting. I am sure for most black readers it was more entertaining and interesting—only later came Jet.

It was good when ONE and The Ladder, etc., were joined later, in the 1960s and ’70s, by Drum, Advocate, and then the local newspapers. I never saw a black newspaper in those days even though I am sure they might have served the community better than the Digest and maybe even Ebony.

I see OutSmart magazine from Houston and am amazed at its high quality and good articles. But I still think Houston needs an old-style newspaper.

What we will never know is how much good these publications did. Did they change many peoples ideas, lives? Where are the people today who read the Negro Digest? Are they better personally and as citizens? Were these publications necessary to get black and LGBT publications where we are today?


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